- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2001

He gave at the office

"The next time Democrats invite CBS's Dan Rather to star at a partisan fund-raiser, as he obligingly did in Texas on March 21, he could remind them just how generously he gives at the office," the Media Research Center's Rich Noyes writes, citing a study by the center's Free Market Project.

The study "documents that, while all three evening newscasts aided liberals' fight against President Bush's tax program, Rather's 'CBS Evening News' was by far the most hostile to the concept of tax cuts," Mr. Noyes said.

Complete results of the study of 93 tax stories from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, Jan. 20 to March 31, can be found at www.mrc.org.

Playing with fire

"He's been videotaped 'shoving' an airport security guard, done rock-star damage to a rented sailing yacht, caused the U.S. Coast Guard to be summoned after a late-night tiff with a paramour and has not, by his own account, paid the requisite attention to his district," Roll Call reporter Ethan Wallison writes.

"Now, with his poll numbers plummeting back home, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, is taking steps to transform his tattered image and erase what even his closest advisers now concede are legitimate threats to his political future," the reporter said.

"Over the past week, Kennedy has quietly brought in key advisers, including media consultant David Axelrod and pollster Tubby Harrison, to rebuild his political operation in the state… .

"Kennedy has also shaken up his congressional staff, parting ways with Rick McAuliffe, his district director, and taking Chief of Staff Tony Marcella off the payroll, sending the aide to run his political and campaign operations in the state."

The reporter added: "Political analysts and insiders consider it highly doubtful that Kennedy will be defeated as a congressional incumbent. But they also say there is no question that the lawmaker has been playing with fire politically, assembling a veritable curriculum vitae of curious behaviors and incidents while becoming less and less familiar to his constituents."

A prosperity budget

"Mr. Bush must hold the veto threat over Congress because every extra dollar of wasteful spending is a dollar unavailable for the crown jewel of his economic plan, the tax cut," Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, writes in the Wall Street Journal.

"If Mr. Bush scales back his tax cut, and trillions of dollars of surplus tax collections continue arriving at the Treasury, we could very easily see the biggest spending binge in Washington since LBJ launched the Great Society. Revenues whet the congressional spending appetite. Tax cuts are doubly virtuous: They promote both faster economic growth and smaller government," Mr. Moore said.

"Even under the Bush budget, the federal government will continue to grow too rapidly. By the end of the decade, the budget will reach $3 trillion despite Mr. Bush's slower expenditure-growth plan. There are defects, including the absurd proposal to nearly double the Department of Education budget over the next five years. Experience indicates this plan will make the schools worse, not better.

"But on balance, this is a fiscal plan that cuts taxes, slows domestic spending, moves to private accounts for Social Security, and has special-interest groups in Washington hopping mad. It's a prosperity budget that fiscal conservatives should rally behind, and for which the president should fight relentlessly."

So much for objectivity

"Memo to all those Democratic types who've been screaming since last November about how terribly 'politicized' the U.S. Supreme Court is by which they mean that only conservatives behave in a partisan manner:

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is now hearing, and will continue to hear death-penalty cases publicly weighed in on the issue Monday, calling for state moratoriums on capital punishment," the New York Post said in an editorial.

"In a lecture on the importance of public-service law, Ginsburg said she was 'glad to see' that Maryland was considering adopting a moratorium on executions although the measure failed in the state legislature a few hours after her speech.

"So much for objectively deciding such cases on the legal merits," the newspaper said.

"Justice Ginsburg staked out a blatantly political position, not a legal one, adding that she would have issued last-minute stays in any (emphasis added) capital case that came before her."

The newspaper added: "The justice also wants it known that she's no fan of the military, either. In her speech, she proposed establishing a legal-service corps, saying such a program would be better for young people 'than to sign them up for armed combat.'

"Justice Ginsburg would do better to lay off the speeches and spend her time poring through her law books."

Coleman and Wellstone

Norm Coleman, the Republican mayor of St. Paul, Minn., has given up on the idea of running for governor next year and instead is seriously considering a challenge to U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, a liberal Democrat.

"If it's any office, it is [the U.S. Senate]," Mr. Coleman told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Mr. Coleman lost to Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura in the state's last gubernatorial contest.

The mayor criticized Mr. Wellstone for not being more supportive of President Bush's proposals and for reneging on a pledge not to seek a third term.

"Paul Wellstone should have lived up to his commitment. I know he cares, but he doesn't care about Minnesota," Mr. Coleman said.

Other Republicans said to be considering a run for the Senate are state House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty, radio talk-show host Jason Lewis, former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams and U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht.

A recent one-on-one talk with Mr. Bush was a factor in his decision to look at the Senate race, Mr. Coleman said.

The president's pupils

An 11-year-old boy who wrote about his concerns over water pollution for an essay contest called "Dear Mr. President" now can explain his fears in a more direct manner.

Jason Freeman, a fifth-grader from Macungie, Pa., has an appointment at the Oval Office.

Jason is among eight pupils from across the country whose entries earned them a 10-minute meeting with the president next week. He wrote about water pollution a month after President Bush revoked a strict new standard on arsenic levels in drinking water.

"I'm very excited. I can't wait to meet Mr. Bush," Jason said.

The eight finalists' essays were selected last month by Penn State Public Broadcasting from more than 1,500 entries.

The winning letters are sent every time there's a new president, but this is the first time a president invited the writers to the White House.

"We got a call from the White House this morning," Ben Sukenik, the contest coordinator said Monday. He is contacting the winners, who live from Colorado to South Carolina.

Underestimated

"The underestimation continues," Andrew Sullivan says, referring to President Bush and his handling of the Chinese hostage crisis.

"Again, we're supposed to be surprised that the president was closely involved in the issue from the beginning, had complete control of the situation but delegated smartly and properly," Mr. Sullivan said on his Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com.

"But it was Bush who silenced [Defense Secretary Donald H.] Rumsfeld and Bush who set the negotiating parameters. Those stories about his foreign-policy naivete are beginning to wear thin. For a novice, this operation was strikingly smooth. The underestimation continues."

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